Alvin Silverstein WINONA McLENNAN - Essay


(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Beginning on an intermediate level, this discussion of genetics [The Code of Life] quickly becomes too complicated for all but the most sophisticated readers in the intended age group. A tremendous amount of information is packed into the 89 pages; perhaps too much, too rapidly as the main points are hard to discern. The better part of the book discusses the latest discoveries in genetics which have been numerous and awesome. In Origin of Life …, the authors treat the same subject—the genetic code, chromosomes, genes, DNA and RNA—with more clarity and precision…. However, this does make students aware of an important and exciting field of research and its possible impact on all our lives.

Winona McLennan, "Book Reviews: 'The Code of Life'," in School Library Journal, an appendix to Library Journal (reprinted from the September, 1972 issue of School Library Journal, published by R. R. Bowker Co./A Xerox Corporation; copyright © 1972), Vol. 19, No. 1, September, 1972, p. 97.

The junior or senior high school student's first encounter with genetics probably occurs as part of an introductory biology course, and, as part of such a course, this introduction may be necessarily brief. The Code of Life would admirably serve to reinforce such a brief introduction and extend it to many of the modern genetic concepts of today. An introductory chapter explores the concept that all living things are really very similar since all have cells which function in basically similar ways. Following this groundwork, the structure of DNA is described, and, thereafter, the authors show how this remarkable molecule, acting through the genetic code, affects reproduction, inheritance of traits and mutation. Many of the principle investigators are mentioned, and their experiments are described so that a student may gain some insight into how these concepts were formulated. (pp. 144-45)

"Evolution and Genetics: 'The Code of Life'," in Science Books (copyright 1972 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science), Vol. VIII, No. 2 (September, 1972), pp. 144-45.